Young people are being invited to join a new youth-focused Mardi Gras working group this week, and to take the plunge at a pool party aimed at 13- to 17-year-olds.

New Mardi Gras announced this week the establishment of a dedicated Youth Working Group for GLBTQ young people to ensure youth issues remain a priority within the organisation.

The group will be staffed entirely by people under 25 and will report to the NMG board on issues relating to young people. The first role for the group is expected to be the establishment of a float in the upcoming Mardi Gras parade. Those interested in joining the group should email youth@mardigras.org.au or visit www.mardigras.org.au/Youth.

Young people are also invited to attend the second ever party for GLBTQ youth aged between 13 and 17 years of age. The Evolution Underwater Party will be held at the Victoria Park pool in Chippendale on Friday 5 March from 7pm to midnight.

At least that’s the plan. The first such party -“ Velocity -“ was held as part of the 2001 Mardi Gras festival and attracted over 150 patrons. However, two subsequent attempts to hold a party for queer youth were cancelled: the V-Zone party in 2002 and a dance party at the Venus Room that was called off at the last minute. Previous cancellations were blamed on licensing and venue issues.

The latest event is being held in an unlicensed venue, however, which Velocity producer Murray Hood announced should prevent any last-minute cancellations. Velocity Inc, the not-for-profit organisation behind the latest event, is also acting in an advisory capacity only, with the City of Sydney promoting and endorsing the party as part of the Safe City Project. This show should go on.

Tickets for the event are $15 and may be purchased at the door or through Ticketmaster7. DJs Mike Kelly and Dan Murphy will perform at the event, which is smoke-, drug- and alcohol-free.

For more information, visit www.velocity.org.au.

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